The 2011 Pantys are halfway over already! I hope everyone's been enjoying the wandering nonsensery. You can read what I had to say on the first half of this list of my favorite movies of the year, number twenty through number eleven, right at this link, but here's a simple list of them:
18. 13 Assassins
17. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
14. The Muppets
11. The Future
And sans further ado, let us do MY TOP TEN!
Hugo (directed by Martin Scorsese - I don't think Hugo was even going to make this list a month ago. And then it came on DVD and I popped it in while folding my laundry and before I knew it I was laying on top of my laundry crying. Out of all the movies here it benefitted the most from me taking forever to make this list because time gave me, uh, time to fall more and more in love with it. And love it I do, like Marty loves Georges. An illicit and sexy amore! (original review)
Drive (directed by Nicholas Winding Refn) -- Okay I was kidding about the sexy Hugo thing, but I'll be goshdarned if Drive doesn't make me feel all hot under the collar. Right from the start with those Miami Vice-ready titles, the dark browns and reds and blacks undulating around Ryan Gosling's steady be-satined presence. Christina Hendricks in teensy hooves prancing across a pawn shop parking lot. Just describing moments from this movie turns me on. This shit is style to the Nth - half the world wants to be Drive and the other half wants to fuck it. (original review)
Poetry (directed by Chang-dong Lee) -- I have piles and piles of unwatched movies surrounding me at every given moment to the point where it's gotten exhausting to even choose what to watch. So sometimes you watch Soapdish for a 35th time. Or sometimes you snatch something at random, and sometimes it's awful, but sometimes half an hour later you find yourself quite unexpectedly sitting on your couch having entirely lost the outside world. I only knew that actress Jeong-hie Yun was supposed to give a good performance in Poetry - I did not know that come the end credits I was going to be so affected I'd have to sit in the dark for a couple of hours feeling shattered, emotionally spent.
Young Adult (directed by Jason Reitman) -- Everything I wanted it to be from that time when the first trailer sent me into Charlize nirvana, and more. There's not much I sympathize more with than an unsympathetic hero - the more difficult the better, I say. Mavis, you are an MVP. Brutal and brutally funny, Reitman's film understands the beast and wedges us right on in there upending the entire romantic comedy genre in the process, turning its cutesy tropes into curdled horrors. (original review)
Shame (directed by Steve McQueen) -- I find myself facing a self-imagined wall of disbelieving boogeymen when I try to express just how deeply this film messed with me - "You only like it because of Fassy's dick being all over the place!" I hear them scream back at me. And lord knows I certainly didn't mind that. But much to my embarrassment since I was in public, I could not stop shaking after the movie finished. I found it to be a finely wrought expression of an endless emotional barrens - the fetid alleys and antiseptic lobbies of New York as hellish a purgatory as any ever dreamed. I know this New York - it's as real as any other expression of this place as I have seen. (original review)
Martha Marcy May Marlene (directed by Sean Durkin) -- I can't even wrap my head around the fact that this was Durkin's first film. It is so assured in every aspect - the visuals enrich the performances and they all plunk right down perfect tonally - that I'm a little bit in awe of him. What lucky folk we are to see what he'll come up with next. (original review)
Take Shelter (directed by Jeff Nichols) -- Another reason The Pantys got delayed this year, actually one of the main reasons, was I really wanted to see this movie a second time. I got curious comments over the past few months, wondering what my grade was for it since I hadn't reviewed it and it sat in my sidebar ungraded. So let it be said at last - this is a great film, a deeply troubling look into a mind coming unmoored, with Michael Shannon's best yet performance. There are moments herein that ripped me right up.
Certified Copy (directed by Abbas Kiarostami) -- I think Take Shelter and Certified Copy actually share some common ground, in that they both become a mind-game about what it is we're actually seeing happen. But how can I not give the slightest of edges to my most favorite of actresses Juliette Binoche giving what might be my favorite performance of hers ever? By the time she's lounging in the half-light of that hotel attic I've just gone silly with renewed obsession. This film is so nimble and strange, following its own untrammeled path that it sucks me right in time and again, and just with words, glorious words, and they way these actors sell them. I love it so much I don't ever want any answers - I just want to roll the questions around on my tongue forever.
A Seperation (directed by Asghar Farhadi) -- Whereas Hugo moved upwards with time, I had a real struggle with my top two films switching back and forth and a month ago they would have been reversed I have no doubt. Technically I think A Seperation is a more perfectly made film - it really is as far as I'm concerned an indisputable masterpiece, not a single wrong step, and it was one of those where you can sense it from the opening credits, with those passports being xeroxed beside the titles. (original review) But there was one movie that just wrapped it's clammy hands a little bit deeper inside of me that wouldn't let go...
Melancholia (directed by Lars Von Trier) -- Other movies this year shook me, and other ones wowed me with their visuals and their performances, lord knows I've been rambling about them for three days now. But none coalesced into quite the perfect storm like Lars Von Trier's masterpiece of righteous depression did. To just think about this film literally gives me goosebumps, and think about it I have - it's hollowed out a little cave inside my head ever since I saw it in October. A little teepee of absently-yet-artfully-arranged sticks to save me from those times when it feels like the air is getting sucked right off the surface of the Earth. It's the end of the world, and I feel fucking fantastic. (original review)